The Doomstress Goes Digital-Goth in Vendetta Diabolique

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Doomstress Alexis is one of Houston's most gifted daughters when it comes to laying out the doom-metal in Project Armageddon. She's got a voice like a wasteland wind that matches well with her brand of droning, funeral-march music.

Now Alexis has teamed up with Jan Kimmel to work on something quite a bit different, Vendetta Diabolique. Gone is that thunderous bass like whale song, and the comparative tempo is through the roof. On the surface it's not all that fast but compared to a song Doomstress is known for, like "Fallow Fields," it's like watching the Flash.

It's dance music -- no question there -- and damned good old-school industri-goth dance music at that. You can hear aspects of Al Jourgensen in Kimmel's guitars and programming, and Doomstress has lightened her trademark sexless wail into something more seductive. It's like Danielle Dax in approach if not actual tenor, but sprinkled throughout with Doomstress' usual hopeless lyricisms.

The band's first single, "Crawl Back," is out now, and I hope to hear it in Numbers' DJ sets soon. It shows off something in Doomstress I had never really picked up from her previous work; namely, she's got a a black sense of humor that's come out as her work has grown more energetic.

How else can you take a line like, "The deeper the cut the more wicked the grin"? I know that the group's live performances sometimes include ritual BDSM segments, so you can certainly take that aspect under consideration. I think there's something altogether more sinister going on, though -- taken as a whole song, it feels like a warning.

Doomstress' lyrics have always assumed the worst of humanity will eventually be the burning doom of us all, and on "Crawl Back" she's particularly bleak. Every line is a warning that you can't truly banish evil. It will always crawl back.

There's no real chance of Project Armageddon going anywhere any time soon. And Allah be praised for that. On the other hand, Vendetta Diabloque is quickly shaping up to be on of the best side projects in Houston. It draws from all the best dark areas of the city's musical history. You can feel the pulsing digital heartbeat of Provision, the grandiosity of Silenced Within, Doomstress' own metal majesty, and the terrifying thing that is Houston's noise scene.

All of that laces up nicely as an atrocity that you can dance to.

"Crawl Back" is available through CDBaby.com. Vendetta Diabolique performs at Notsuoh (314 Main) Saturday, September 27 with special guests Only Beast! and Giant Kitty. Show starts at 9 p.m.

Jef has a new story, a tale of headless strippers and The Rolling Stones, available now in Broken Mirrors, Fractured Minds. You can also connect with him on Facebook.


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